Different responses in the expression of alginases, alginate polymerase and acetylation genes during alginate production by Azotobacter vinelandii under oxygen-controlled conditions
The transcription of genes involved in alginate polymerization and depolymerization, as well as the alginase activity (extracellular and intracellular) under oxygen-limited and non oxygen-limited conditions in cultures of A. vinelandii, was studied. Two levels of dissolved oxygen tension (DOT) (1% and 5%, oxygen-limited and non-oxygen-limited, respectively) strictly controlled by gas blending, were evaluated in a wild type strain. In cultures at low DOT (1%), in which a high molecular weight alginate (1200 kDa) was synthesized, the transcription levels of alg8 and alg44 (genes encoding alginate polymerase complex), and algX (encoding a protein involved in polymer transport through periplasmic space) were considerably higher as compared to cultures conducted at 5% DOT, under which an alginate with a low MW (42 kDa) was produced. In the case of genes encoding for intracellular and extracellular alginases, the levels of these transcripts were higher at 1% DOT. However, intracellular and extracellular alginase activity were lower (0.017 and 0.01 U/mg protein, respectively) in cultures at 1% DOT, as compared with the activities measured at 5% DOT (0.027 and 0.052 U/mg protein for intracellular and extracellular maximum activity, respectively). The low alginase activity measured in cultures at 1% DOT and the high level of transcription of genes constituting alginate polymerase complex might be mechanisms by which oxygen regulates the production of alginates with a high MW.